Kelly Killoren Bensimon has been making jewelry since she was 16 years old. While her collections have been sold by a variety of retailers over the years, the constant stream of strangers asking to buy a piece she just happens to be wearing convinced her to expand her distribution.
Kelly Killoren by Kelly Killoren Bensimon, a collection designed exclusively for HSN, will bow on May 19. Killoren Bensimon will make two appearances that day, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“When I cohosted ‘The List With Colleen Lopez,’ I felt like I really identified with the HSN customer,” Killoren Bensimon said. “They have incredible taste for luxury, are very educated and love beautiful things. The message board for the show had questions like, ‘What’s Kelly wearing? Whose jacket is that? Who does her hair?’ I’m going to be 48 years old this week. We have kids, but we still want to look great. We want to be ageless, timeless. I wear jewelry with this mind.”
Killoren Bensimon’s HSN collection is priced from $39.95 for chandelier earrings to $99.95 for a beaded three-layer necklace with a medallion and double tassels.
Bensimon declined to give a sales projection for the HSN collection. “As editor, it’s been my job to celebrate other people all my life,” said Killoren Bensimon, who was an editor at Elle. “I’ve been kind of under the radar for a long time. Part of the reason is that I was making each piece by hand. I could only make certain quantities and wanted each one to be perfect.”
The core Killoren Bensimon collection features micro-pavé diamonds and citrine, jade and other semiprecious stones and retails for $125 to $1,2500. Barneys New York in 1997 picked up the line. Killoren Bensimon created a collection for Bergdorf Goodman and designed a gold and pavé diamond range for Bloomingdale’s. Her focus is now specialty stores such as Kitson in Los Angeles, Surf Lodge in Montauk and Wink at the W Hotel in Miami, and HSN for the lower-priced line.
The HSN collection is all about travel. Killoren Bensimon found her first medallion in Panarea, a tiny island off the Sicilian coast. Others were discovered in Paris. “I’m just a hunter,” she said. “I’ve found great medallions on Sixth Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan, Morocco and India. I have a very discerning eye. I love imperfection.”
Killoren Bensimon’s designs for HSN includes necklaces with reproductions of her trademark vintage medallions. Another hallmark, mixing different metals and textures, will also be on display. “There’s one medallion in the HSN line I wish I could reproduce for my higher-priced line,” she said.
Circle fringe earrings feature delicate chains falling from a gold- or silver-tone rings, $39.95. There’s medallions on beaded necklaces, $69.95; beaded necklaces with tassel pulls, $69.95; large pendant necklaces, $89.95, and beads combined with charms, $79.95. A multilayer chain necklace comes in gold, silver and rose-colored gold, $69.95; and a fringe necklace is dotted with tiny turquoise stones, $69.95.
The designer said her advice to women when she appears on HSN will be, “Be a chameleon,” which serves her business well. She said she practices what she preaches, however. “I dress for Coachella one day and amfAR the next,” she said.
Asked how her premium-priced retail accounts feel about the collection she’s launching on HSN, Killoren Bensimon said, “I saw Sally Hershberger there and the president of Lancôme. Everybody goes there.”